The Importance of Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers may sometimes be seen as “tattle-tales,” but the reality is, their work can protect millions of Americans. Any time they pull back the curtains on hidden wrong-doing, they commit a huge public service. Whether that takes the form of alerting the Justice Department about Medicare fraud or revealing safety issues of nuclear power plants in the 1980s, whistleblowers can be thanked for looking out for the rest of us.

Nowadays, reports filed under the U.S. False Claims Act (the “whistleblower act”) are being used by the Department of Justice to pursue investigations of prescription drug manufacturers accused of safety violations. This effort will help ensure the safety of prescription drugs that are often difficult for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to monitor since 80 percent of the active ingredients are manufactured abroad. By teaming up with the Department of Justice, the FDA will be far more effective and pharmaceutical makers both home and abroad will be discouraged from cutting corners of health and safety.

Whistleblowers using the False Claims Act will now hold a key role as their lawsuits are investigated by the Justice Department, who has vowed to take an “especially hard look” at pharmaceutical manufacturing plants. Americans can rest a little easier knowing that the drugs they take are under scrutiny by two government departments and any Americans who take the steps to blow the whistle.

Government agencies are not immune to claims under the False Claims Act; a recent case involved an employee at the Office of Safety and Health Administration. He came forward with evidence incriminating OSHA, showing that they allowed companies to underreport workplace injuries. This whistleblower was subsequently fired from his position as recordkeeper, but won $820,000 in his lawsuit for unlawful firing.

Anyone who has intimate knowledge and evidence of significant fraud against the government is eligible to becoming a whistleblower. If their case is successful, they may even get a portion of the money recovered. If you think you may have grounds for a whistleblower case, the best way to begin is to contact an attorney or law firm who specializes in whistleblower cases. They will inform you of your rights and responsibilities in the case, and they can help with the process of filing False Claims Act lawsuits. The lawsuits can be complicated, so make sure whatever firm you choose, they have experience in the area. If you are successful, you might be responsible for recovering up to millions of dollars on behalf of taxpayers and protecting your fellow Americans.